What did we know? And what are we doing now? The best background summary I've yet seen, and the concrete info on the difficulties the intelligence agencies are facing is sobering.
Media Literacy & Choosing Sides. But whatever role we historically played, and however ineffectual our strategy, what we have been aiming to support over the past couple of centuries is creativity and free will. All of the relativistic angst and political critique expressed by we highly educated internet-literate computer users has been made possible by the Western system, born in the French and US revolutions.
A thoughtful and fascinating analysis of the historical backdrop to the current situation. Why did this happen, what circumstances got us into a de facto state of undeclared war with the Islamic world, and what can we realistically do to prevent those circumstances from ever recurring? --Charlie Stross